Stop Telling Me Your Monthly Pedicure is Your #SelfCare Time
By Rachael Lublin
Another article on self-care? Is this needed?
Yes. Because none of us are doing it well.
To prepare for writing this, I opened the holy grails: Instagram and Google and typed in “Self-care”. An hour later I felt significantly worse about myself and far more stressed than before I started. There was so much to do!
– 12-step skin routines (morning AND night!), mantras to memorize- and then recite daily, yoga poses that I will never be able to pronounce, unplugging my entire apartment, making gratitude lists, and on and on… I needed a nap (not sure if for self-care, or to escape doing the “self-care” list)
Recognizing our need to deliberately make time for our Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical health is vital for us to live well in our increasingly frenetic world. Humans are suffering from chronic stress at an unprecedented level. The causes are engrained in our daily lives in ways that are nearly impossible to get away from: Polluted air, water, and food sources; instant connectivity and easy accessibility from anyone, anywhere, anytime via our mobile devices; physical pressure from working our jobs and spending long times in transit; noise and light pollution; and a lack of deep human connection and positive social interactions.
I was at a nanny event this past year when the subject came around to self-care. One nanny was so thrilled to tell us that each month she got a pedicure and a manicure at a high-end nail salon and that one 2-hour session was her designated time to relax, breathe deeply, unplug, and clear her head. Two hours per month. All of her other time was spent working her nanny job, picking up side-gigs, or helping out her housemates. I wanted to scream. Not at her for being so proud of her accomplishment, but at society for convincing this young, very hard-working nanny that her pedicure was adequate time for refilling her rapidly draining tanks.
I went searching for the best research, and most easily applicable approaches, to true self-care, and found that almost all of it can be broken down into 3 categories/statements that we can tailor to our various lives, timelines, needs, and desires.
- Know thyself. Make decisions that support your personal growth.
– Take an evidence-based personality test (like MBTI) to understand the inner workings of your mind better. Understand what areas of your life promote stress (triggers), and what can instantly put you at ease. Once you have a solid index of who you are, go forth and make choices that will compliment your personality. Making that spur-of-the-moment #yolo choice is often only best for yourself if you are typically a strict planner, stuck in a routine, and usually, leave no room for the unexpected. It would not be a wise self-care choice for someone working on being better prepared, and thinking things through. Someone who is bothered by crowds and noise, should not choose mall-walking as their physical activity of choice, just as someone who gets anxious in silence shouldn’t study for an exam in the library. By now, most of us know what our Love Language is with regard to others, but do you know your “Self-Love Language”? How can you make choices that show you are treating yourself with the love it needs?
- Use caution while roaming the beautiful, elicit world of Social Media.
– I know, I know… You love it. I love it too! I love being able to connect with friends and family any time day or night, logging-in to see their important life updates, and feeling ‘connected’ to my favorite celebrities. Social media has become a great tool, but also a great weight. When we leave social media sites downtrodden, anxious, and with a longer (endless) to-do list, it no longer is a tool for progress, but one for self-destruction. You’ve heard it before: Social media only shows the positive side of a situation- the smiling faces of a family in deep turmoil, the inspirational quote from a new mom who is falling apart, the drastic “before and after” pictures that tell you, “You could be better! Just try harder! Just change your whole life!” etc. In this new world market, where self-promotion is big business, even self-deprecating posts can be highly lauded for their “realness” and candor. So, when you feel the need to engage in some “self-care”, but just don’t know where to start (or need to do something in bed at 2 am when your existential anxiety hits)- edit your social media feeds. Remove “likes” and press “block” on pictures that cause you anxiety, unfollow the things that break your spirit, delete the constantly negative people, ‘cancel’ pages that have a culture of unattainable standards.
- Work through and remove that which does not serve you.
– Just as our minds and hearts do, our bodies hold trauma. Some research even suggests it changes us at a cellular and genetic level, and those altered genes can be passed down to offspring. We need to take the time to not only alter our social media feeds, but our physical environment to ensure we are setting ourselves up for healing and eventual growth. Setting, and possibly, more importantly, enforcing boundaries with the people in your life is often a great first start. You need to get a little bit of time back to focus on you, and if you can’t find any, then you are giving too much of it away. You are important enough to take care of. Use your time to start a new practice. Just one for now. Even if that “new practice” is removing an “old practice”, like making that last half-hour before your desired bedtime, screen-free, or hiring out some help with tasks that lay unnecessary amounts of stress on your shoulders.
Self-Care is making the choice to Love Yourself when, you are tired, hangry, and broken. It isn’t a to-do list to get through (although it can be if that’s what best serves you). Balance isn’t something you look for in a search bar, it is something you create with intentions and actions.
#realselfcare often involves regularly carving out time to: breathe deeply, cook and eat densely nutritious food, clean (anything), create, dance, drink water, feel safe, garden, laugh, meditate (possibly: pray, watch clouds), move your body in ways that feel good, read a work of fiction, organize your living and working spaces, play, say No, sleep in a dark room, step into the sun, talk in-person with someone you don’t feel the need to impress, wear clothes that make you feel beautiful, visit your doctor/dentist/therapist or volunteer.
Rachael L. Lubin – (Houston, TX) Rachael Lubin is a Certified Professional Governess through the English Nanny and Governess School, a Credentialed Nanny through the International Nanny Association, and currently sits on the INA’s Board of Directors. Rachael chairs INA’s Nanny Speaker Track for their annual conference, and chairs the Marketing and Promotions committee which encompasses their Member-only Facebook group. For the past seven years, she has specialized in working with “Families Going through Major Life Transitions” across the USA and Canada. She has attended over a dozen trainings and conferences during that time, including NannyGuards, Nannypalooza, interNational Nanny Training Day, and various parenting workshops. Prior to starting her career in personal service, Rachael worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters and taught English in China. Rachael currently is a full charge nanny in Houston, Texas. Rachael has been a member of the INA since 2013 and joined the Board in 2017.